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BY THE BOOK: Moses Abukutsa

Friday October 13 2017

Moses Abukutsa is a 34 year-old dreamer and

Moses Abukutsa is a 34 year-old dreamer and English and Literature graduate who began writing while in high school. PHOTO| FILE 

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Moses Abukutsa is a 34 year-old dreamer and English and Literature graduate who began writing while in high school. Much of his inspiration to plunge into writing, apart from the luxury of dreaming for the unimaginable, sprung from the proximity to his father’s vast home library that consisted of numerous literary works and critical essays on diverse subjects.

He is not much of, or anything near a well-known author nevertheless he has published short fiction in East Africa’s Kikwetu Literary Journal and poetry in Nigeria’s Praxis literary magazine; both online platforms. Aside from writing, there is nothing more he enjoys than reading classics, writing, and playing amateur chess and tennis.

He also fancies day dreaming. In September 2017, Moses was shortlisted for the 2nd Nalif (Nyanza Literary Festival) competition and emerged as the 2nd runner up in the fiction category with the story: Abraham’s Cremation, which is a story covering the post-election conflict, displacement of families and identity.

His other work includes the poem Decolonizing in Praxis that covers terrorism and the story The watchman in Kikwetu which covers infidelity and revenge. He is currently working on poetry and a couple of short stories as he muses over ideas for a novel.

Moses spoke to about his literary dreams and delights.

Which one book do you hold so dear that it can’t possibly be lent?

That would be Anna Karenina by Tolstoy. I revere its skilful art and realism. It is a magnificent book that has and will survive ages of readers. It simply is universal.

Your childhood favourite book?

Bible stories. Bible stories occupied a large part of my childhood. The story of Moses and the Pharaohs, Samson and Delilah, David and Goliath and of course my all-time favourite –Saul on the road to Damascus

Who is your literary crush? (Not a book character but a real person you admire in the lit world).

Tolstoy. What a master at weaving tales. His ability to write War and Peace with such a provocative mastery of the narrative engages me anytime.

What’s your greatest fear?

The mass invasion of social media on people’s privacy. It is a two-edged sword I must admit. Moreover, the psychologically destructive edge is the one that cuts deep wounds and it pisses me off; the fake news, the hate verbiage and all.

Most embarrassing writing mistake ever?

It was on stage and my first time doing lines in a play. I lost all the lines before a wild audience yet it was my script and I was the director. I ended up with egg on my face and my dream to be a famous actor remained just that.

If you were to dine with three writers, dead/alive, who would they be and why?

That would definitely be Leo Tolstoy, Charles Dickens and Joseph Conrad. I would love to ask Tolstoy why he saw the Nobel as insignificant, as for Dickens I would just love to find out if he was that humorous in real life and lastly for Conrad I would love to just look at him and wonder..

How did he master the art of long metaphoric sentences yet English was for him a second language?

Most unforgettable character from a book?

Oh that’s a no brainer. Mr. Murdstone from Charles Dicken’s David Copperfield carries the day. He is so articulate in his cruelty to David that any reader with a heart will drop a tear for the poor lad. I dropped many and I hated him. I have never been so personal with a character in a book.

Which book do you wish you had written and why?

Don Quixote by Carvantes. Its wealth in humorous irony is mind-blowing. I treasure style. Isn’t style the man anyway?

Greatest craft sin you have committed?

I misspell a lot. Honestly you can not blame me, I’m a slow learner and have to literally cram some words in a very ingenious way (it’s my long time secret formula)

If you were sent off to Robben Island for a year, which three books would you take with you?

The King James Bible, Anna Karenina and Don Quixote. I love the old English and of course the wealth of wisdom in the Bible, the intrigues in Anna’s marriage and Russian society of the time perfectly painted in Tolstoy’s narrative make an armchair philosopher out of me while Don Quixote in his ridiculous adventures makes me laugh

If you weren’t an artist/writer, what would you be?

I think it’s a pretty hard question but maybe I would have made a great lawyer. I can argue and I try to speak good English.

Any other fun/interesting thing you’ve always wanted to tell readers?

I would really love to preach to people that nothing is as pleasurable as a good book.